Hacking the Holidays: Make Your Own Geek-Ornaments

Hacking the Holidays

Pict0010Pict0010Geek-a-ments?  Gorn-a-ments?  No, that would be ornaments of lizard men that would only come down after Christmas if you fashioned a crude firearm and…  Never mind.  So, a couple of Christmas’ ago I was with the geek-wife in an arts and crafts store and I saw some DIY ornaments.  They were white, round, and ceramic with a rough surface for really taking the paint.  Perfect!  I immediately saw a blank canvas upon which to impart my geek-i-tude.  What did I make?

Super-Hero Ornaments

Super-Ornaments?  Supraments?  I’ll work on it.  One of the things I love about super-heroes are their emblems.  There’s something about reducing an idea down to a single ultra-simplified iconic image, slapping it on your chest, and saying “Yeah, I’m Apotheosis Man!  Wanna make something of it?!?”  To that end, I have collected literally dozens of super-hero emblem shirts.  The most fun to wear is Thor because only the worthy can recognize it.  But which super-heroes should adorn my ornaments?

The Justice League

Just-a-ments?  Forget it.  My first thought was of DC characters.  Not that I have anything against Marvel, but they have relatively few emblems.  Seriously, how would you do an Ant-Man ornament?  Quickly, my thoughts went to the Justice League.  Most of their characters have colors in the traditional Christmas vein: red, green, and yellow.  Blue would have done fine, but I was overly cheap and stuck with only the three colors.  I’ve since been told that that was a mistake.

The Process (For the Arts-and-Crafts Impaired)

Priming them wasn’t really necessary because the surfaces of the ornaments were very rough and took the paint easily.  However, I’ve been back for more ornaments and not found the rough kind, but very glossy polished ones instead.  Ornaments such as those would need priming, just like lead figures.  Next, I penciled in the basic designs.  After the pencils, I painted in all of the colored areas.  After that I took a black, permanent marker and re-applied all of the pencil detail.  Next time I will make sure the black marker has a fine point.

What Worked

What I loved the most about these ornaments was that many of them were sort of stealth-geek-icons.  Seriously, the Martian Manhunter ornament was green, with a red “X”.  That’s very Christmas-y and – once again – only the worthy know it for what it is.  My geek-friends had to guess.  Green Lantern worked out great as well.  Not a lot of people can easily recognize the GL symbol.  When I wear my GL t-shirt in public, people either look at the symbol and ask if it’s Greek, or shout the Oath at me.  There’s not a lot of middle ground.  Hawkman and Plastic-Man also worked in terms of looking really cool, but the geek-wife hates them, so I have to set them up as part of a different display.

What Didn’t Work

Batman.  The Dark Knight might be great for preserving Gotham’s collective sanity running around town in a rubber animal suit and beating the bad-boys, but he makes a lousy ornament.  Wonder Woman and Flash were kind of so-so, but I really liked them so that was the tie-breaker.  The main mistake with Wonder Woman was indicative of the project as a whole – too much yellow, not enough (or any) blue.

The Lesson

The lesson to learn before doing the same is to check your color scheme and use images or emblems or whatever that match the existing scheme of your decorations.  My lesson is that, though the traditional Christmas colors are green, red, and yellow, our decorative colors are red, green, and blue (RGB, what a geek-y coincidence!).  Stay tuned for successive iterations on this theme.

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